Politics

"San Francisco Politics Is Like a Knife Fight in a Phone Booth" - A Groundbreakers Q&A with Scott Wiener

San Francisco politics is like “a knife fight in a phone booth.” And that's why State Senator Scott Wiener says getting his start in that city has made him sharp enough to handle politics in Sacramento and NIMBYers around the state.

Our "Groundbreakers Q&A" with the buzzed-about State Senator from June 26 is up -- listen in to the conversation about housing, homelessness, education and LGBTQ legislation.

The podcast is currently up on Soundcloud, iTunes, Spotify, Sticher, Google Play and other podcast hubs -- just type "California Groundbreakers" into the search box.

How You Gonna Vote on . . . .? Listen to our "Policy and a Pint: Midterm 2018" Podcasts to Figure it out!

Election 2018 is in full swing -- and now is the time to figure out how you're going to vote!

We’ve been holding discussions with panelists who, whether they are "for, " against" or "neutral," give us the straight talk on local/statewide propositions and races, and what it means if you vote yay or nay on each.

Listen to these “Policy and a Pint” podcasts before you mark your ballot. We’ve covered:

  • Proposition 1 - Bonds for affordable housing and veterans’ housing loans

  • Proposition 2 - Using the “millionaire’s tax” to create bonds that build housing for the homeless who need mental health services

  • Proposition 3 - The water bond

  • Proposition 5 - Changing property-tax assessments for certain homeowners who want to sell

  • Proposition 6 - Repealing of the 2017 gas tax

  • Proposition 10 - Making rent control laws easier to establish in California

  • Proposition 12 - Banning sales of meat and eggs from farm animals that live in cages smaller than a specific size

  • City of Sacramento’s Measure U - increasing the city’s sales tax, and making it permanent, in order to pay for city services and invest in other big-ticket items

And then, of course, be a good voter and submit your ballot!

Dem/Rep/Indie Face-Off: Trivia Night Showdown!

The November election is still a few months away, but that doesn't mean we should take a break from politics, right? Hot summer nights are perfect for facing off against people who have totally different political views from you, and showing them what's what and who's right!

Before we start up the Election 2018-focused discussions with panelists facing off against each other, we're doing a few "Faceoff Nights" this summer. We want to find out which one of California's political parties is the big winner when it comes to knowing trivial stuff about California, defining slang words, debating trite topics, and showing off top karaoke skills.

 

 

First off was our Face-off Trivia Night. Democrats, young Republicans, Greens, on-the-fence and undecided voters, and even the California National Party came to the Federalist in Midtown Sacramento and played Golden State Trivia: California geography, history, politics, pop culture and famous people.  Prizes for winning category winners came from Sacramento-proud businesses like Ruhstaller Beer, The Trade Coffee and Coworking, Yoga Seed Collective, Comedy Spot and Hornblower Cruises in Old Sacramento.

The winner: Team Tim, a group of guys with various political opinions.

The goal: Even though we may be of different political parties and views, we showed that Californians can still gather in the same room, get along, and have some fun.

Next up: Dem/Rep/Indie Face-Off Game Night, August 13 at CLARA Auditorium. Field a team, come on out to play some fun party games that will test your witty humor, debate skills and knowledge of California. The winners get prizes and bragging rights for being the funniest, wittiest, savviest registered voters around!

California Isn't So Cutting-Edge When It Comes to Electing Women

"I get calls from Washington DC and back East, saying to me, 'California must be so great for women to run for office,' because we have two great strong women US senators and the first woman Speaker of the House. But when you peel back the layers, you don’t see that," Rachel Michelin of  California Women Lead said last Wednesday at our latest "Policy and a Pint" event.

" I try to caution women to think that, while we’re so progressive, so cutting-edge, there’s still a lot of work to do in order to get equality and parity in elected offices across California."

Our podcast about "Women Running for Office" is up.

Listen to great discussion from Michelin, gubernatorial candidate Amanda Renteria (pictured here with one of our event attendees) Congressional candidate Regina Bateson, and Kula Koenig of BWOPA Sacramento as they talk about the challenges of women running in California, and what needs to be done to break the still-pretty-thick glass ceiling of gender parity in state politics.

There's not a dull moment in this 80-minute-long conversation, but you can refer to the "Podcast Play-by-Play" to go to specific parts of it.

Our 25th Event . . . and Our First Filmed for Television

We marked our first event of 2018, and our 25th-event milestone, by getting it put on film -- Capitol Weekly came with cameras to tape our Policy and a Pint discussion, "Sexual Harassment at the State Capitol," for its 99th episode of "Politics on Tap" (which airs on the California Channel on Comcast).

Watch the episode by clicking on the link above, or listen to our audio podcast of it, available both on iTunes and Soundcloud.

This is a great conversation about what is needed to make the efforts and actions of #MeToo, #TimesUp and #WeSaidEnough stick -- both at the State Capitol and in workplaces all around California.

The Gas Tax: Jerry Brown Won the Battle Over It This Year. Will Republicans Win the War Over It in Election 2018?

California's new gas tax goes into effect November. 1. That means most drivers will see the price of gas go up by 12 cents per gallon, diesel will increase 20 cents a gallon. Starting January 1, you'll be charged a new annual vehicle fee ranging from $25 to $175, depending on the value of your car. Even electric cars, which don't use gas, will will pay a $100 annual fee (starting in 2020).

The gas tax increase is expected to raise more than $50 billion to fund Caltrans' "Fix It First" project, which aims to repair roads and bridges, and improve traffic congestion, across the state. Will they spend it wisely?

Governor Jerry Brown fought hard to get the gas tax (officially known as Senate Bill 1) passed last April, saying "real money" is needed to fix California's transportation systems, which have gone unrepaired and unexpanded for decades.

But the state's Republicans are fighting back, actively working to repeal the gas tax. There are two separate efforts to put repeal-the-gas-tax measures on the November 2018 ballot. And they say that because their polling on the gas tax shows it to be extremely unpopular, there's an excellent chance SB1 will be repealed a year from now.

So even though the gas tax kicks in on November 1, the Gas Tax War is just beginning.

Listen to this "Policy and a Pint" podcast as we discuss the gas tax and what it consists of, where the money goes, why it's a good thing, why it's a bad thing and -- most importantly -- how it affects you as a California driver, and maybe your vote next November.


 

A Group Named BARF Is Calling Out "Build, Baby, Build" in the Bay Area

Sonja Trauss is a great example of a California Groundbreaker. As founder of the Bay Area Renters Foundation (fondly known as BARF), she's got a motto of "Build, Baby, Build" in the Bay Area, advocating for any type of housing to be built, as long as it's built tall, high-density -- and soon. A former lawyer who makes BARF her full-time job, she recently hired a lawyer to sue the East Bay city of Lafayette for switching a high-density development to single-family homes instead.

Read this great New York Times profile of Trauss and BARF. And come to the Brickhouse Gallery on Wednesday to meet her -- after her court date in Lafayette, she's taking the Amtrak up here to be on our "Affordable Housing as Oxymoron in California" panel.

Policy and a Pint: Shaking Up the Election Process

Another Weekend-before-the-election special: A heartwarming, enlightening, uplifting discussion about the 2016 election -- Trump is only mentioned once, Hilary none.

Here's the Policy and a Pint podcast of our "Shaking Up the Election Process" panel at Ruhstaller's taproom a few weeks back, with Caity Maple, Paul Mitchell and James Schwab using no filters whatsoever to discuss, opine and predict the outcome of the election next week, and the next one coming up in two years.

Listen to the podcast here